BMW Santiago Jacket
by Gus Breiland
It was time to get the Domestic Associate a riding jacket. She had been riding for a few seasons with “sale” gear and making due. As her riding skills advanced and her confidence level grew, the desire to use her motorcycle as a form of transportation and recreation blossomed into her becoming a commuter. With gas prices climbing, her inner cheap was being satisfied, too. She needed good gear. We all need good gear.
Being a motorcyclist (aka biker to the unwashed masses), I, of course, hinted at tassels and halters. After all, the documentaries on cable TV about motorcycles and women tell me that the fairer sex is supposed to expose as much skin as possible so they can perch on the back of a man’s bike, right?
The DA wasn’t having any of my foolishness. She started commenting about things like comfort, rain protection, girly parts and the male centric nature of good riding gear and the chic-centric nature of the sport bike or biker-culture wear. We started with the Bike Show in Minneapolis and wandered through the cheap chaps and even cheaper chaps. We drove around town trying on gear at local retailers and discount riding stores. She was not finding a jacket that fit her properly. Apparently, she thinks she is different!
The number one rule of motorcycle gear is, “If you are comfortable, you will wear it.” So far she had been making due with a jacket that was good for in town commuting. For longer trips, however, she needed an expandable “system” that could be used in rain, sleet, snow and sun; all in the same trip.
We hadn’t tried BMW apparel yet. I called around and the closest retailer at the time was Gina’s BMW in Iowa City, IA. A road trip was in order south to Gina’s. We hoped we would find riding gear for women who want to be more than passengers.
I would highly recommend running down to Gina’s if you are considering BMW apparel. They are professional and well educated about their product. They know how to work with you to find the correct garment. The gentleman that helped the DA approached us and asked who was shopping for gear. The DA answered and the salesman looked at me, pointed to the coffee machine and said “why don’t you go over there and wait for us.” Perfect! He did not try to sell me the DA’s jacket; it was her decision and hers alone. They tried on jackets, pants and talked gear. He was patient and she was interested. After some time she made her decision.
The BMW Santiago Jacket was what she had chosen. The Santiago features a Dynatec shell with Cordura stretch sections. It has armor in the shoulders, elbows and back. The reflective material is a little light for her likes, but the fit of the jacket to her body type is excellent. She did not have to compromise comfort for something to ride in. The Santiago is even stylish, so she doesn’t look like a firefighter or spacewoman.
The Santiago is a breathable shell with a waterproof lining. I was skeptical of this type of shell / liner system, but it wasn’t my choice to make. She enjoys the shell only in summer riding and says it breathes well in hot riding without the liner. When the liner is in, the biggest hurdle to get over is the feeling when wet. The water flows through the shell and down the liner giving the sensation of a liner failure. But, she has remained dry and that is what matters. One of the exterior pockets is waterproofed and there are zippered vents in the shell.
One of the difficulties of writing reviews in regards to riding gear is durability and crash testing. Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly, despite being a major player in world economics, doesn’t have a crash test facility. Usually we must tell you about the ability to withstand a crash and tear resistance from the sales literature instead of first-hand knowledge.
The DA decided to go the distance this past summer. Minneapolis put a dirt track down our East / West street and the DA’s bike decided it needed an early morning nap while she went for a right hand turn. The jacket was barely fazed and did its job well. It protected her skin, kept the pea gravel from imbedding into her elbow, shoulder, and back, and didn’t require any repair. A little dulling of the shoulder fabric was the extent of the damage.
I am impressed with BMW’s Riding Gear’s build quality and styling. The DA has worn it as a daily commuter and on our longer riding trips and continues to be pleased with it. Take a spin down to Iowa City, IA and visit the fine folks at Gina’s BMW.
Since the purchase of her jacket, Moon Motorsports in Monticello, MN has also become a dealer of BMW Riding apparel.